Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Shades of Falling

The Poetry Bus is being driven this week by Niamh Bagnall, and her challenge for us is to find and write about an article in the news. I have a confession to make: I wrote this poem and then went looking for an article that would suit. Believe it or not, when I Googled "burnt orange fashions," I found three web articles published today and numerous articles published in the last several weeks.'s the poem I wrote this morning, inspired not by the news but by the color of my new soft fall jacket. You can read other poets who probably followed the rules here.



The last time I wore
this particular shade,
it was also fall.
I was seventeen.
It was the Fireman's Ball,
held in the hall of the local Guard.

My burnt orange dress
fell from my firm young breasts
in the Empire style,
but you were the one who laid siege
until you conquered me.

It was fall, and we were
a young fireman
and his even younger sweetheart,
falling in love
in the spring of our lives.

They say if you hold on
to anything long enough,
it comes back into fashion,
just like all of this
comes back to me now
in shades of orange,
as burnt and sweet as autumn.


  1. Ah, Karen - this harkens back to those youthful days along the river, in that small college town! This beautiful poem reminds me of your early years together with F. I loved your cute upstairs apartment. (The steps leading up to that apt. was where Butch and I first started talking getting married!!!!) These words are warm and nostalgic, and sweet as fall. And the best part is you are still together with that young fireman. :D

  2. So lovely! Nostalgia is my favorite brand of romance!


  3. I like it though not a romantic sort.It speaks to the springtime of life and the greening of the youth flowering there and the learning on the way to Autumn of our lives and the wisdom that we came across while living our way there.

    And as long as you're not slapping the bus driver in the back of the head while they're driving you don't have to be too specific about the rules eh?

  4. They say love favours the brave. You were brave, and I love it!

  5. "you were the one who laid siege". I'm thinking knights errant here. Burnt orange will never be the same!


  6. The potency of this memory pours from between the lines. Fascinating how such moments hold us for years upon years. I'm glad you shared it.

  7. I love this! Such a nice look back. You should link to the Magpie Tales this week too - the prompt is autumn leaves.

  8. Karen! Welcome to Magpie! This is a wonderful piece. I remember that "burnt orange" color that was so popular.

  9. Oh I loved this
    I know this feeling
    him the young policman
    and me his sweetheart
    and we still know the color of it all

  10. Very nice colors,
    Autumn dress
    And a love remembered.

    Strummed Words

  11. Fall-ing in love with love! Beautiful.

  12. Now I have yet another favorite poem of yours, Karen. I love it so much. Beautiful images. Beautiful parallels. And oh, my gosh:

    "They say if you hold on
    to anything long enough,
    it comes back into fashion..."

    That entire stanza is so awesome. Burnt and sweet as autumn! What a wonderful ending to a beautiful poem.

  13. Kay - We didn't know what we didn't know, but even had we known, we'd do it all again! I remember your telling me that you and Butch had that talk. We were so young. Who'd have thought we'd be sharing this memory these many years later? So glad we are.

    Tara - Welcome! I'm so glad you stopped by. I've been nosing around your blog and find it all very well written. I agree with you, by the way. I prefer the originals!

    TWM - I think you hit on it all there in the first comment. I'm wondering how did we get from there to here intact? ;-)

    Dave - I don't know if it's bravery or blind faith, but we had and still do have it. Very fortunate to be so blessed!

    Kat - He got the "round tower of my heart"!

    jason - Thank you.

    Bug - Thanks, Dana. I took your advice, and I'm meeting some new friends. I've always read Willow's Magpie offerings -- don't know why I haven't joined before.

    Berowne - Welome, and thank you.

    Willow - I don't know why I haven't joined before. Thanks for letting me in!

    Suz - Hi! It sounds as if I've found a like soul. Just lucky, aren't we?

    Strummed Words - Welcome, and thank you!

    Helen - ...and with him. Welcome to my blog, and thanks for your comment.

    Julie - I'm smiling because you and I always say the same thing: "Now I have a new favorite!" We're becoming predictably funny! Truly, though, what a nice thing to say. You've made my Friday.

    kathew - Exactly. Thank you!

  14. Falling in luv is great. Falling in luv 4 the 1st time is smthing else.

  15. Natures colours never go out of fashion! :)

  16. what a beautiful memory...i am a hopeful romantic so you plucked my heart strings...smiles.

  17. a deep satisfied sigh.. thank you)

  18. i like the rise and fall...the spring and fall...

  19. Beautiful, romantic, colorful...

    Wonderfully written poem. Thanks for sharing.

  20. what a wonderful piece you've written :-) memories are so sweet, aren't they?

  21. Oh you big romantic, you! I am a completely unemotional wet fish but even I was touched by that!!

  22. lovely, cool, and encouraging!
    Thanks for the inspirations!

  23. Oh Karen, I don't care how newsworthy this one is, what an absolutely beautiful poem. The final verse is the one that really captured me, particularly for the contrast with Spring above.

    I am also a great fan of orange in clothes.

  24. kathi - Thank you!

    Jinksy - Agreed!

    Brian - Thank you. Hopeful is always the way to be!

    Selchie - Hi, friend! Thank you!

    Rachel - Thanks for reading so carefully.

  25. Reflections - Thank you so!

    Scott - Absolutely! Thanks.

    Peter - I can't think of you as a wet fish! A funny one, maybe...

    Jingle - Thanks!

    Karen S. - I had to do a double-take when I saw your (and my) name and initial! Welcome, and thanks.

    Titus - Thank you for that!

  26. Lovely... and thank goodness love is never out of season :)

  27. Rene - Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    Tumblewords - Thank you!

  28. Falling in love....this whole poem is so insightful and lovely...perfect for Magpie as well! by the way I just loved your Oh Martha post and poem Karen! :-)

  29. I am an old romantic and I loved it!

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  33. Beautiful and nostalgic writing! I enjoyed reading this very much.

  34. Love these last lines, Karen

    comes back to me now
    in shades of orange,
    as burnt and sweet as autumn.

  35. i love this! nostalgic but contented; sweet but not sentimental, with a perfect mix of innocence and sensuality, time and truth. i especially love how autumn is not the end here – it’s simply fulfillment, rich and heavy and deeply hued. i can almost see the speaker in this looking in a mirror and smiling at her youthful self in the reflection. beautiful!

  36. Carrie - Welcome, and thank you! It's always nice to meet another Marth...if we can only slow down long enough to get acquainted! :-)

    120 Socks - Thank you, again and again and again!

    NanU - Thanks!

    Karen - (That's me - testing my new blog administration thingy). It's a long story!

    Mary - Thank you.

    TFE, Poetry Bus Editor, Extraordinaire - :-)

    joaquin - I love reading your comments. They're usually better than my poetry! Thank you for your sweet and thoughtful response.

  37. Beautiful poem, Karen. I love orange. I see it as a warm, exuberant colour, more of fire than of fallen leaves. The sense I get from here is of a profound happiness, quieted in a way by the passing of years, but still there in the richest way. Just beautiful...

  38. Invite you to try the prompts at Writer's Island...